Sunday, 16 November 2008

National/Act deal

Kiwiblog gives details here. The actual agreement is here in pdf form. Save the Humans comments here. The Standard comments here. No Right Turn comments here. These bits from No Right Turn are particularly good,
ACT's Taxpayer Bill of Rights Bill will be introduced as a government measure "with the aim of passing into law a cap on the growth of core Crown expenses". So, national will kneecap government;
Kneecap government? If only!!!

They will also examine "alternative means of achieving [government] objectives" - meaning privatisation and contracting out;
We live in hope.

A few quick comments.

Do we need a Minister for Regulatory Reform? How will this work, via what Ministry? Sounds like creating more red tape to get rid of red tape. Oxymoron?

We will have a "high quality" advisory group to investigate the reasons for the recent decline in New Zealand’s productivity performance. The first thing the "high quality" advisory group would need to do is realise that the decline in New Zealand isn't recent, its a long term issue. Do we need a New Zealand Productivity Commission? The best thing a government can do to increase productivity is stop tying to increase productivity. Government is much of the problem in this area, not the answer. Regime uncertainty is a big problem here so the government should concentrate on the protection of private property rights and leave the rest up to people and businesses. On the good side, at least they have worked out there is a problem with New Zealand's productivity.

We will get a a "high quality" advisory group to recommend short-term amendments to the RMA. But do we want "short-term amendments to the RMA". Should we not be looking at a long term replacement for the RMA?

It is good that they are going forward with the Regulatory Responsibility Bill. Also good is the review of the current Emissions Trading Scheme legislation. The amendment to the ETS legislation delaying its implementation, repealing the thermal generation ban and making any other necessary interim adjustments until the review is completed makes sense.

Establishing a series of Task Forces to undertake fundamental reviews of all base government spending in identified sectors, and to report findings to the cabinet control expenditure committee and relevant ministers. Looks good on the face of it, but what real effects will it have. The Task Forces can report, but can they force ministers and bureaucrats to actually do something?

Overall how many Ministers does the government now have? Many many Task Forces and "high quality" advisory groups are we going to have? How do all of these make government smaller?

There are some good points to the agreement but a lost has to be done to make this government the genuine reforming government we need.

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